Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys

Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys

An American Woman in World War II
James H. Madison
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/04/2008
Format: Paperback 30 b&w photos, 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-22107-0
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Description

Author James Madison is the regional winner of the 2013 Indiana Authors Award.

Elizabeth Richardson was a Red Cross volunteer who worked as a Clubmobile hostess during World War II. Handing out free doughnuts, coffee, cigarettes, and gum to American soldiers in England and France, she and her colleagues provided a touch of home—American girls with whom the boys could talk, flirt, dance, and perhaps find companionship. Usually the job was not hazardous—except when V-1 and V-2 rockets rained down on London—but it required both physical endurance and the skills of a trained counselor. Liz Richardson is a witty writer and astute observer. Her letters and diaries reveal an intelligent, independent, and personable woman with a voice that rings true. With commentary by historian James H. Madison, this book is an exceptional window into a past that is all too quickly fading from memory.

Author Bio

James H. Madison is Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America and other books. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Reviews

“A remarkable book. . . . Historian James H. Madison has done a marvelous job of detective work in putting together Richardson's story. A major strength of this work is the careful way that Madison has placed the letters and diary of Richardson within their larger historical context.”
 — Judy Barrett Litoff, author of We're in This War, Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform

“Handing out free doughnuts, coffee, cigarettes, and gum to American soldiers in World War II, Elizabeth Richardson and other Red Cross volunteers were a touch of home as American girls the boys could talk to, flirt, dance, and perhaps find companionship with. Witty letters and diaries reveal an intelligent, independent, and personable woman with a voice that rings true in this exceptional window into the past.”

“At a time when war memories are fading with the passing of each veteran, Madison gives voice to Liz's recollections, capturing her zest for life and her deep understanding of war.”
 — South Bend Tribune

“Richardson's story, skillfully reconstructed by Madison, pulls back the veil of romantic myth that sometimes obscures World War II, and lets us see the face of wartime humanity in all of its guises—bored and fearful, but also alive and charged with hope.October/November 2008”
 — Bloom Magazine

“All in all, this account makes for informative and enjoyable reading for the scholar, undergraduate, or anyone interested in women's participation in the war, and in particular the American Red Cross Clubmobiles. March, 2010”
 — H-NET Reviews Humanities & Social Sciences

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Table of Contents

Preface
Chronology of Elizabeth Richardson's Life

1. Growing Up, Leaving Home, and Preparing for War
2. The Yanks in England
3. V-1 Rockets, the Kansas City, and the 82nd Airborne
4. War Comes Closer
5. Into the English Provinces
6. From the Gray Midlands to Sunny Cornwall
7. Across the Channel and into France
8. V-E Day and V-E Blues
9. One Plane Crash
10. The Long Memory

Appendix: Wartime Writing
Notes
Note on Sources
Acknowledgments
Index